Saturday, October 5, 2013

Coffee Grounds & Your Garden

Even if you don't drink it chances are pretty good you know someone who does.  Nearly every employee break room has a coffee center stocked with flavored creamers.  The beneficial uses of used coffee grounds are numerous, but do they really boost your crops?

Turns out they do.  These little jewels add three very important nutrients to soil- nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.  Coffee grounds are also considered slight acidic, but in a favorable range.  There are a several different ways to get the advantages of coffee grounds in you plants.

I like to drop mine directly into the compost bin.   The earth worms will feed off of the grounds and break up the component.  Grounds are also beneficial in maintaining the optimum temperature throughout the bin.  Why is it important to maintain your compost temperature?  To avoid possible seedlings, and deter unwanted pests.  Adding coffee grounds to the compost bin will also promote a richer, darker more beneficial feed for you garden as well as your house plants.

When I start new seedlings indoors for my spring gardening I always add fresh coffee grounds to the soil.  It gives my seeds the right start.  They come out strong and healthy.  I simply poor a couple of cups on top of the soil and mix in in well before planting the seeds.  To give the growth process and bigger boost use a small amount of leftover coffee to give the seeds a good drink.  Add fresh coffee grounds to any transplanted crops to give the roots a bit of stabilizing nutrition.  CAUTION; You never want to over do the coffee grounds.  Too much of anything isn't always a good thing. 

Coffee Grounds are also beneficial as a simple pest control.  Particularly slugs and snails when added to the garden.  Just be sure to ALWAYS use fresh, never spoiled, grounds.  Avoid using any flavored coffee grounds or fresh coffee.  The arouma will attract the wrong pests in abundance.

When the spring and fall gardening season have ran the full cycle and it's time to clean out the garden add plenty of grounds to give the soil the right jump on the next seasons crops.  It's a good idea to mix the ground well, but it doesn't hurt to top coat the soil with the grounds and let the winter do the work.

So what do you do if you are not a java fan?  Where do you go to get fresh coffee grounds for your plants?  First, and maybe one of the easiest is the world leader in coffee ground compilation.  Yes, I'm talking the one and only Starbucks.  Walk into you nearest Starbucks and for the asking you can get a free 5lb back of fresh grounds.  Hat's off to the mega giant for being so environmentally conscious.  What a great way to keep all of those grounds out of the landfill.

Recruit friends to help out your garden.  Offer to take the discarded grounds off of their hands.  Take advantage of that break room at work.  Set up a container and ask the other employees to save the grounds for you to take home.  Remind them of the benefits on the environment also.

If you do enjoy a fresh cup of coffee in the morning while you are revving up with a dash of caffeine don' forget to take advantage of those used grounds.